Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The White House Egg

West Virginia Egg - 2009 - (c) Linda Schweitzer
It was June, 2008. George W. Bush was near the end of his second term as president. It looked like the next president would be either Hilary Clinton or John McCain... I was still living in West Virginia.

I received a phone call from a woman, who said she was from the American Egg Board, asking me if I would decorate an Easter Egg, for the White House, to represent the state of West Virginia. Well, the whole thing sounded strange. I was not even aware of a display of Easter Eggs of the States at the White House, and I had never painted an egg, so I turned her down.

Next day, I looked up the White House website. Sure enough, there were egg displays at Easter time every year! Each state sent an egg. This had been going on since Grover Cleveland! Who knew? The artists got to tour the White House and meet the First Lady (sometimes the President too!) While there was no offer of money, or even travel reimbursement, I started getting excited about this as a great opportunity!  I called back and accepted the offer.

She did make it clear that the event might not even happen, with the new president, whoever that might be. But, they had to go ahead with the planning, in case the event would take place. And, there were rules: It had to be a large chicken egg, with the contents removed, and the ends sealed, and decorated to represent some special feature of the state. But here was the zinger:
"There can be no publicity regarding your egg or your participation in the event
prior to the event taking place. This is a White House event, and they are very
strict regarding the publicity originating from them."

So I can't even publicize this! Or blog about it! Dang!

I went out and bought a couple dozen eggs and got some books from the library on egg painting. There was quite a learning curve! (Which means it took a lot of time, and ruined eggs!)

Here is my dining room table, in production mode
In order to paint the egg without touching it, I put a bent coat hanger through the two holes. I decided the view off Cooper's Rock overlook, with mountains and a river between them was an image very representative of the State.
Here is the egg on the coat hanger wire
reverse side
The egg was painted all the way around. This is the reverse side. The egg had to be received at the American Egg Board Office by Nov. 1, 2008. I shipped it off, and waited to hear if the event would take place.

Two weeks before Easter, I found out it would not happen... The White House has continued the Egg Roll on the White House lawn, but not the egg display. Sigh... all that work, for something that wouldn't even be seen.
Well, you're seeing it now! Displayed in public, for the first time!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

More Exercises

Here is another exercise from Ruskin's The Elements of Drawing. I took a branch, hung it horizontally, as it grows on the tree, and drew the outline of the branch and leaves from a profile view. Then I filled-in the outline with ink. Believe me, this was a total chaos of lines until I filled-in with the ink!

Next, I drew the same branch as it would be seen from below or above. Ruskin says that "Nature puts her best composition into the profile arrangement." Do you agree?

 I just found out, The Elements of Drawing is available online at no cost through the Gutenberg Project. I am really enjoying these exercises! And right now I am glad I am not using color. I had cataract surgery yesterday, and colors look different in each eye! My doctor says that will change though... We'll see! I can't wait to have the other eye done so I'll have a matched set of eyes!